Israel to build surveillance system to track activity along Cyprus Green Line

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NICOSIA — Cyprus on Thursday signed an agreement for the Israeli military to build an electronic surveillance system to monitor activity along the UN-patrolled Green Line across the divided Mediterranean island.

“It’s an electronic surveillance system that will provide us with images around the clock,” Cypriot Defense Ministry spokesman Christos Pieris told the Cyprus News Agency. “It will be installed at different points on the Green Line.”

The 180 kilometer (112 mile) Green Line has divided the island from east to west since 1974.

It separates the Republic of Cyprus, the easternmost member of the European Union, from the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Ankara.

The surveillance system will monitor activities such as smuggling and illegal migration, as well as provide military intelligence, officials said.

In May, Cyprus declared a “state of emergency” as an influx of Syrian migrants overwhelmed reception centres.

Over the past four years, the number of asylum seekers in Cyprus has reached 4% of its population, compared to 1% in other EU states, according to the government.

The security system, costing 27.5 million euros ($32 million), is expected to take three years.

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